Why Do Dogs Shed Their Hair?

BY | July 19 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

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Although shedding is normal for almost all dog types, excessive hair loss could be a sign of some other underlying condition. In this piece, we look at why dogs shed their fur, what constitutes normal shedding, and the signs of a bigger problem.

Reasons for shedding

The fur of your dog helps him to control the body temperature and also protects his skin against the environmental elements and the sun. When his hair stops to grow, he will lose it naturally by shedding. The frequency and amount depends on a number of factors, like the health condition of the dog, the breed, the environment and the season.

How much is normal?

A lot of the double coated breeds tend to shed the undercoat during the fall and spring. This applies more or less to the normal breeds as well. Some of the breeds that shed their hair heavily include the Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, German Shepherd and the Beagle. In certain cases the shedding might seem excessive to you, but chances are that itโ€™s something completely normal for the dog. However, excessive shedding could also be due to an underlying health condition.

Abnormal causes

If there is a big change in the environment, dogs can start shedding more hair than they usually do. If your dog is shedding more hair due to anxiety or stress, then he might benefit from your care and comfort. Consult with the vet to see if supplements or medication would help with the situation.Some skin disorders lead to bald patches and hair loss. For instance, a parasitic infestation (lice, flea or mites) can lead to excessive hair loss. Dermatitis, ringworm and some fungal infections, cancers and immune diseases can also cause hair loss. If you notice some kind of skin irritation, scab, bump or a rash in addition to all the hair loss, take him to the vet immediately.Allergies and hormonal changes are another major cause of excessive shedding. Certain medications, foods, grooming supplies and household cleaners can trigger an allergic reaction in your dog.

How can you manage it?

While it is not possible to prevent a healthy dog from shedding his fur at the normal rate, you can ask the veterinarian or groomer for product recommendations that are suited to the fur-type of your dog. With the right product, you can reduce the amount of loose hair in and around your home. If there is an increase in the frequency at which your dog sheds hair, then there is a possibility that he suffers from some underlying condition. If you are worried that your dog is experiencing excessive hair loss due to stress, a pest infestation, or a hormonal imbalance (like Cushingโ€™s disease), work with the vet to pinpoint the underlying cause and treat it appropriately.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell from Your Dogโ€™s Coat?

So your curious little canine friend went exploring and got sprayed on by a skunk. This kind of thing happens when you have a curious dog. Luckily, thereโ€™s there are a quite a few solutions out there to help you deal with this scenario. However, you must act fast.Here are a few tips to help you out.

Wipe

The first thing you need to do before trying anything else is to wipe your dog. While wiping, make sure you locate the exact spot where the skunk has sprayed him/her. Skunk spray contains compounds that are known as thiols. These are sulphur based chemicals, which can definitely cause problems.While wiping, make sure you use gloves to avoid getting that nasty stuff onto yourself. Keep wiping and youโ€™ll eventually find the spot where your dog has been sprayed. Usually, this would be the neck or the shoulders. Now, wipe off as much as possible.

Use Skunk Odor Remover

To get rid of the smell, you will require a skunk odor removing solution. Make sure you have everything available right away. You canโ€™t waste time running to get things as and when you need them. One effective solution is to mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide (3%) with 1 or 2 teaspoons of dish soap and half a cup of baking soda. You can also use vinegar instead of hydrogen peroxide to avoid the bleaching effect.Make sure the solution is stored in an open container as the mixing results in pressure. A closed container can explode because of this.Once you have the solution ready, wash your dog with warm water, wipe her/him dry and then, rub the solution onto his/her coat. First, target the areas where he/she has been sprayed. Make sure nothing gets into your dogโ€™s eyes, nose, or ears.Let the solution soak for about 15 minutes. Then, rinse and repeat.You can try something similar using tomato juice as well. Tomato juice is known to be quite effective at eliminating skunk spray odor.

Use Shampoo

Once youโ€™re done with the solution part, give your dog a final wash using shampoo. Things are likely to look much better from here on. Once youโ€™re done giving him/her a proper bath, dry the coat and place the dog in sunny location for more drying.

Visiting the Vet

Generally, you can handle such a situation on your own. However, if your dog has been sprayed in the eyes or face, you will need to visit the vet. The spray can affect the eyes in a bad way. Also, look for signs of lethargy, vomiting, and foaming at the mouth. If you do spot such symptoms, rush your dog to the vet right away.

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